Seaweed and kelp as food is a large industry worldwide. In fact, seaweed is the largest aquaculture in the world, even larger than fish, especially in Asia.
Now researchers believe that the plants from the sea are at full speed on their way into Norwegian cuisine.
Lots of vitamins and minerals
One of those who think seaweed and kelp is something we in Norway will eat more of in the future is researcher Silje Forbod at SINTEF.
- Why should we eat seaweed and kelp?
- Because it is healthy and because it is a good flavoring agent. It contains little fat and a lot of vitamins and minerals. It is a good supplement to the diet, she says.
Large sums for research
Prohibition also indicates that in the future we will need new food sources.
- In 2050, we will need 70 percent more food as a result of the growing population. Seaweed and kelp production is a great way to utilize resources that are not so common to produce food, she says.
She believes exports will be the largest market, but also hopes for an increase in the Norwegian market in the long run.
- Seaweed and kelp production is a focus area within research. The Research Council has given large sums to research on kelp as food, says Forbord.
- No emissions
There are just over 30 companies in Norway that work with the cultivation and production of products.
One of these is the pioneer company Seaweed Energy Solutions (SES), which is located on Frøya in Trøndelag.
- No emissions, no additives, no fertilization. Everything is just a natural process, says hatchery manager at SES, Andreas Lavik.
They are experiencing a growing interest in their raw materials from the European food industry, but also a nascent curiosity here in Norway. The company also supplies raw materials to several small companies that make seaweed and kelp products.
Self-picking for everyday food
Along the Norwegian coast there are large deposits of seaweed and kelp. You can actually pick it yourself and use it in your food. Among those who make products with seaweed and kelp here in Norway, is the small company Ting with seaweed at Engelsviken in Østfold.
Anne-Lise and Bjørn Viken have for almost three years worked to get the plants from the shore to turn it into delicious everyday food. Here they offer seaweed safaris and hold food courses for individuals, companies and schools.
- You can pick macroalgae as long as there are no discharges nearby and there is a fresh inflow of water, says Bjørn.
Seaweed has the newest part of the plant at the end of the tip. This is cut off so that you harvest sustainably. In kelp, it is the other way around. There you will find the freshest part at the bottom.
- There is hardly any other raw material we have in the kitchen that has as much nutrients in it as seaweed and kelp, says Bjørn.
Rich in B12 and iodine
Macroalgae contain the vitamin B12, which is found in meat, among other things. Vegetarians in particular should be careful to ingest this. It also contains a lot of iodine.
It is a good idea to include good iodine sources in your diet, as many people do not get enough iodine.
At the same time, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority recommends that you do not eat excessive amounts of seaweed and kelp until you have done sufficient research on how the nutrients are absorbed into the body.
Iodine is, as mentioned, a mineral the body needs, but which one should not have too much of. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to be extra careful.
Translated from original article.